Sunday, July 21, 2024
Sunday, July 21, 2024
HomeGraduatesStoriesBlood Sacrifices.

Blood Sacrifices.

Sometimes the blood connection is more detrimental than developmental, the urgent calls from relatives in dire situations can trigger many worries that suffocate personal plans, overtime to service emergency loans and expenditures on only the basics so that that blood attachment lives to see another tomorrow. If only the family woes stopped knocking, the burden on many employees in Kampala would be much lighter.
Gabino Emmanuel, a 24 year old, has been working as an administrative assistant at a top clinic in Nsambya for 2 years now. His Clinical Medicine diploma dictates that he could have been fussing over the patients but instead he sits at a desk and nurses their paperwork, he could have been scribbling prescriptions but instead another diagnoses his daily schedule.

“My father is a small scale farmer in Oyam district and my mother, a humble lady with no
education at all,” he commenced his narration. “I am the eldest out of my eight siblings, who has made it this far in studies and earnings.” He cannot afford to continue sponsoring himself to complete that diploma that can earn him the prestigious white coat because the pleas for money back home never mute. Gabino’s presence in Kampala echoes great achievement and lucrative financial opportunity back home yet in reality, he battles daily with the dust, bedbug-infested taxis and the gnawing aftereffects of Chapati and beans, just to keep the family going. His silent hustle, in his opinion, is what makes him a man, a good son and an exemplary sibling.

“50% of what I earn here, I send back home to cater to my siblings’ school fees, feeding the family and medication for my father who had a pacemaker installed to keep his heart beating,” he shared, the tone in his voice a signal that if he had it any other way, that desk would be an operating table, his fingers within gloving and gently cutting into flesh instead of being crackled with the aggressive typing on an old keyboard. It remains a commitment to uphold simply because they are his bloodline. When asked why he doesn’t seek sponsorship or a better paying job to allow him finish his studies, he admitted that he has not been very lucky getting scholarships and that he could never forgive himself if any one of his family lacked financially yet he can do something about it. Another reason for his endurance at this job is because his two years’ experience in the medical field better positions him to be sponsored to finish school, as is granted annually by the clinic board of governors.

Gabino has already taken a two months salary advance to send back home, the old family
house desperately needs some repair work as his 19 year old sister Martha’s wedding is in
three weeks’ time…the home must look decent, lest the anticipated in-laws mock them to the core. With Martha in the care of another man, he hopes to utilize the money that he had been sending for her school fees to build a cattle shed where the bride price shall be kept and attended to, another small investment for the future.
“Family is family, it is something you can never denounce so I work hard to make us better,” he said with a wide smile, a far cry from better for himself. Gabino admitted to sometimes playing hide and seek with his landlord in Kampala, the fatigue gnawing at his muscles and how he maximizes the tea and bread offered at the workplace by taking more than two rounds. At times, the people wearing stethoscopes buy him a meal with meat, and he always looks forward to the celebrations occasionally held by his workmates where he heavily indulges with the free food and drinks.

“I love what I do and I get my salary on time. Also, the medical environment is very dynamic, today someone is having a baby or has just been declared disease-free so we celebrate. And tomorrow, another lies dead or there is nothing more that the doctors can do so we grieve. My best day, so far, was when we were short on staff and the director asked me to assist with administering first aid for five accident victims that had just been rushed here; I got a chance to play doctor and I also went home with generous tips from those ailing people.” Days like those, when patients and visitors give Gabino random pocket change that he uses to finance another family emergency, are his favourite. Some responsibilities, like monetary contributions to medical bills for distant relatives, he could excuse himself, he is not their only option after all, but he is enslaved by fear of not receiving the same help when direly needed and the Aunties will blabber less about his lack of concern when he sends a little mobile money.

On inquiring about his love life, Gabino holds back momentarily then spills the beans. He is
living with a girlfriend who is five months pregnant. Given his limping financial situation, he did not want to have a child so soon but it happened that way. An expectant father already
parenting his parents and their children on 100 US dollars per month is a stretch that he prays will not wreck him. Luckily, his job offers free medical care for himself and he wished it could also cover his girlfriend’s antenatal care but that is a burden he must finance elsewhere.
“My girlfriend has been very supportive of me, she runs a vegetable stall that brings in some daily income that amounts to about 200,000 Ugandan shillings per month and she contributes some of it towards her younger sister’s school needs. Her sister is very bright and studying on a half bursary, she wants to become a doctor in the future,” he shared. Gabino’s five year plan is to expand his father’s farm by buying more land where they can till more cassava for sale. He recently borrowed some 20,000 Ugandan shillings which he sent to his mother to enroll in a tailoring course that he hopes will argument her skills and thus supplement the family income.

“I try to make small investments back home so that I don’t have to keep sending them money. It is still a struggle since my youngest brother is handicapped so Mother cannot have a job so far from him because he needs special care from her. My two brothers earn some money by digging in the neighbors’ fields over the weekends but I want them to complete their studies. I will continue to support my family and my father’s treatment because those are my true people, I cannot deny them.” he concluded in an assertive voice.

The sacrifices that Gabino makes for his family can easily be darted with a ton of selfishness and electrocuting all emotional attachments. However, he keeps giving and doing because he cherishes the happiness and wellbeing of his family, of his true people. Blood is indeed thicker than water and stains deeper than anything else.

Liz Kawalya
Elizabeth Kawalya is a Scientist who loves to know it all and to compel others to embark on the journey of finding out for themselves! Born in Bweyogerere, Wakiso district, Uganda, she was raised with six siblings by a single mother. She currently works as a medical laboratory assistant and part-time sous chef. Nature, the current social-political environment and personal experience are her greatest inspiration from which she creates original content with the aim of captivating her audience with accurate, relatable and entertaining writings.


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